I have the fondest memories of childhood. I do know that financially, we were not at all comfortable. Yet, I don’t think I ever did really notice. I may have noticed that some other children seemed to live in much bigger houses and have lots of toys, but it did not effect me as a child.
One of my distinct memories is going to work with Dad during the school holidays. He was a window cleaner, and we just loved being with him. We took pride in the jobs he gave us. But what I remember with glee is that lots of the houses owned by his customers had very pretty gardens. We (my sisters and I) used to love exploring their gardens. When they had children, Dad’s customers would often invite us to play with their children. How I loved having fun on their garden swings or playing with their indoor toys.
The truth is, I never did feel “poor”. I never did. I think I felt very comfortable, very secure. It was only in my late teens when I started to notice the difference between our council house and the “posh” houses where my friends lived. But any temporary silliness, fretting over the idea that we may have been “poor” shrivelled up when I began to travel and saw what real poverty means.
As an adult….there are “things” I don’t physically own. I do not own a house, or a car, or much furniture of my own. I don’t have a smart phone, or an i-pod, or a lot of the other “things” that some of my acquaintance possess.
But I don’t feel “poor”. I live in a beautiful area, with famous multi-millionaires on my road. I still earn less than £10,000 per year (last year I did extra hours for the NHS, but all excess wages were put into the “family pot” which we set up to make sure any of our family who could not work during the Pandemic were able to take whatever they needed, so I still ended up with my same income), and yet I feel so wealthy, so rich in experiences, so enriched by friendships and memories. What a life. What an incredible life!!!
That little girl in her red wellington boots who used to carry the little ladder after her father into the gardens of his customers – I wonder if any of them realized she would be so blessed, so enriched with life – with living life in the most exciting and purposeful of ways.
If you measure wealth by more accurate means than a bank balance or a list of material possessions – I am in no way “poor”. I am rich – fantastically rich!!!